- i felt like i ate lots of food for thanksgiving; there was tons on the table and reminds me how excessive we americans can be (not that it's necessarily bad...just a LOT of food). it was delicious too, by the way.
- had a great time connecting with my parents and brother for an extended period of time. we celebrated christmas this week with them because we'll be in pittsburgh with shanna's family at christmas time. had tons of fun playing games, chatting, and just relaxing together. we're so blessed with the families that we have...
- enjoyed hanging out with todd & christa and the kids for another extended period of time. they are so encouraging and fun to be around - every time it's so refreshing...
- embarked on a new experience this afternoon - shanna and i went hunting for a tree to cut down with some friends. usually we just pick one that's already been cut, but this year we were told that for a super cheap price we could cut any tree and any size. operating on a tight budget, we jumped at the opportunity, and spent WAY too much time looking for the perfect tree. (two perfectionists looking for a perfect tree = a somewhat frustrating experience for everyone involved). we were looking for a very large tree (our obsession with big) because we have been blessed with cathredal ceilings in our apartment this year and for some crazy reason felt the need to fill the space. getting home and looking at the tree...i think it's quite possibly the smallest one we've ever gotten - lol. it's funny how God works things like that out to teach us lessons. amidst feelings of frustration, i was reminded of the series we'll be starting this thursday in youth group, "gimme more presence" - it's not about the hype of christmas, the flashy presents, and the unimportant stuff that so often clouds out the imperative. it's about being more like the kid in the smelly crib...thinking and acting more like Jesus. it's not about getting the biggest tree and paying for some stupidly high electric bill. again, not that big is bad...i'm just maybe beginning to notice how i live in excess so much of the time when so many live in need... maybe a 'smaller' tree isn't such a bad thing after all...
- i've been battling a cold for the last few days and have gone through almost an entire box of tissues. as i typed this i just sneezed on the screen actually (i bet you wish you could've seen it). hunting for the perfect tree this afternoon in the great outdoors made me want to hack off my nose with the tree saw.
- driving home from the tree farm, our friends' tree fell off the roof of their van and almost caused a wreck for the car behind us. looking back, a VERY funny experience that wasn't so funny at the time.
After that we had Community Groups. I'm feeling like we're fitting into a good grove and I'm starting to enjoy our group.
Yesterday I hung out at home, cleaned out apartment (much needed! yikes.). Then after school, I took one of my girls out Christmas Shopping. I'm so excited - I found a lot of my list and didn't have to shop solo. Cor and I are going to go out and get a few more things, but we're all set for our Thanksgiving/Christmas celebration with Cor's family.
I'm watching TV while I write this and they are discussing Michelle Obama and what role she'll play in the White House. I'm really excited to see what she'll do. I admire Laura Bush greatly and yet, I'm anticipating Michelle Obama as she forges her own role. As a pastor's wife I am watched and criticized or lauded... My tiny little "fishbowl" is more than enough for me. What a stressful and vunerable position the First Lady must fill... I've always been in awe of the President's wife.
Today was my first free day at home in a long time. I was completely unproductive (other than this graphic, of course). I love being at home. Tomorrow I'm meeting a friend for lunch/shopping (? maybe) and then taking a teen out after school. And I've already scheduled next tuesday to go out with some of the girls. I LOVE our ministry and doing stuff with the girls. I wasn't able to do that while I was working this last job, but I didn't realize how much I had missed that until I started scheduling stuff again.
chris is the head architectural designer of the building, dan is heavily involved in the construction of it, and kim is our interior design consultant. they were so much fun to work with and their enthusiasm easily spread to the students. we got the teens into 'think tanks' for about a half hour and their ideas for how to design the youth room were quite amazing...many of which are actually doable (except for the hot tub...that one might not fly).
Here's a pic of my "new" hair cut. Sorry for the bad resolution... cell phone pic. I feel so trendy. :)
I'm headed down to see my family today and I am sooo excited. Cory is headed to a short conference for all of our district's YPs. Having 2 cars is great! I love having the freedom to just jump in my car and drive to PA or do whatever... We've enjoyed this luxury for awhile and it is awesome. After church last Thursday Cory & I decided to go out to Wendy's with another couple. When we got out to the parking lot four cars awaited the four of us. Maybe this is commonplace for you guys, but for me it struck me how spoiled we are here in the US!
Cory & I were cleaning our apartment this weekend and Cor mentioned we only have 2 more weeks until Christmas decorating in the Hunneyman Home begins! I'm so stoked! I LOVE LOVE LOVE decorating for Christmas and the way my home feels all twinkling and cozy! I'll post pics after decorating begins.
Today Tina & I and the girls went on an adventure! We went to Target to go clothes & shoe shopping for the girls. Then, we drove the Wendy's drive-through and took our food to the park for a picnic. Then, went home and walked to the little church playground down the road. We were all pooped by the time we got back home.
I learned... to remember our handicapped parking permit, how to fold and unfold a wheel-chair, to not talk with my mouth full, to hold a little girl so she doesn't pee on her pants when peeing outside, to efficiently use the carseat anchors in our car, ...
When I finally got home today, I took a little while to myself and then got ready to leave for ISM tonight. When I got to the car, I opened the door to throw my bag in the backseat. Two carseats with two little smiling dollies greeted me. Closing the door and throwing my bag in the passenger seat instead, I choked back tears and avoided any eye contact with my backseat... Sigh. Infertility catches me unaware and unprepared sometimes. During those moments, emotional pain rips through my heart and leaves me breathless. I know God has a purpose for our infertility and He has a purpose in this job.
Honestly, I know a lot of truths, but I hate the practical outworkings of those truths... the daily grind that wears away at my heart and passion... Ironically, I also know that He's standing there with open arms just waiting for me to run back to Him. But, doing that means I have to trust Him... I have to open my hands and surrender... again.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? Matt 16:24-26
it challenged my thinking, drove me to ask radical questions that i'm not sure i'm comfortable asking, and i'm sure has begun moving me into new territory in how i think about and do ministry.
there was one session in particular that really messed with my mind, and it was led by francis chan, author of crazy love. he was talking about how radical jesus' ministry on earth was, how we in youth ministry especially are infatuated with big crowds and big numbers...but that's not what jesus was about. in fact he pointed out passsage after passage where jesus is found deliberately speaking to them in confusing ways. many times we think that when he spoke in parables...that it was like us speaking in illustrations, with the intent to make the point clearer. but matthew 13 is a good example of a story he told that made absolutely no sense on its own...the disciples pick up on that and ask jesus why he's confusing them...he explains to them why...and then proceeds to give his disciples the deeper meaning of it all.
when i get up to speak, to be honest i'm not sure it ever really happens...but my goal is to cause each person in the audience to understand whatever it is we're trying to explain. but jesus seems to say things in such a way that the few who really want to understand have to come after him and chase him down to get the answers. i didn't walk away thinking that that's necessarily how we need to communicate to people (but it does give encouragement on "bad" nights)...but i guess what's disturbing to me, even more than any of this...is that i've asked that question about the parables for years as i've read through the gospels...and never chased down an answer.
i believe the bible...as 100% absolute truth...but i'm finding that sometimes my belief and trust in the bible gets in the way of my understanding and defending of it. i'm so prone to read something pretty funky in the bible...believe confidently that there's a reason for it and it all checks out...and letting it go there without doing the work and research of finding out HOW. and it's disturbing to me.
so, i've embarked on a new journey of scripture reading, and i'm committing to asking critical questions...questions that i've been too scared or too lazy to ask before...and i can't wait to see where it'll take us.